Juanita Elanor Bardin

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Above: Bardin, circa 1993

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: May 17, 1993 from Vidor, Texas
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: March 28, 1944
  • Age: 49 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'0 - 5'2, 200 - 210 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Bardin regularly frosted her hair at the time of her 1993 disappearance, and she wears eyeglasses. She has a discoloration on the left side of her chin, a tattoo of a black widow spider on her chest and a tattoo of the name "Ray" on her left arm. Her middle name may be spelled "Eleanor."
  • Medical Conditions: Bardin may have been diagnosed with stomach and/or breast cancer in the mid-1990s.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Bardin moved into her daughter's family's residence in Vidor, Texas in 1992. Her daughter, Rhonda Maclin, had been adopted by Bardin's friend during her childhood, but she and her birth mother reconnected sometime afterwards. Maclin said that Bardin did not have an education and did not like staying with her family. Maclin stated that her birth mother always paid her monthly rent and was employed at a coffee shop in Vidor at the time.

    Bardin was last seen at her daughter's home on May 17, 1993. She phoned Maclin's adoptive mother while Maclin was at work and said that a person named Pat was scheduled to pick her up during the day. Bardin does not drive and relies on friends or public transportation. She departed from the residence shortly thereafter and has never been heard from again. Bardin left all of her personal belongings behind, taking only a diamond and sapphire ring she received as a birthday gift from her daughter.

    Authorities believe that Bardin met employees of Gene Hammond Shows, a carnival company based in Pinehurst, Texas, earlier in 1993. The group regularly traveled throughout the state at the time. Investigators learned that Bardin resided with another woman involved with the carnival in Johnson City, Texas after departing from Vidor. Her former roommate told authorities that Bardin stopped working for Gene Hammond Shows on July 4, 1993. She claimed that Bardin asked her and another friend for a ride to a bus station near Dallas, Texas on July 19, 1993. The woman said that Bardin rented a locker at the depot and stored her belongings before leaving the area. Her former roommate said that Bardin never contacted her again. Maclin stated that she did not believe the woman's version of events, as she was unable to locate a bus station in the specified area.

    Bardin lived in Phoenix, Arizona prior to her relocation to Texas. Investigators learned that she resided at the St. James Hotel in the city during late February through early March, 1994. The hotel charges just $13 per night and is frequented by people living under poor circumstances. Authorities contacted the hotel during August 1995, but Bardin had apparently left the establishment by that time. Maclin became familiar with a former hotel employee who told her that he saw her birth mother north of Phoenix in Cave Creek, Arizona sometime during 1997. Bardin frequented the Madison Bar and Hotel in Phoenix in the early 1990s. Authorities questioned regular visitors at the business in 1997, all of whom stated that Bardin had not been seen in the area for some time.

    Investigators received an unconfirmed tip that convicted murderer and former carnival worker Tommy Lynn Sells was seen with Bardin prior to her 1993 disappearance. Sells was convicted of the murders of two girls in Texas in 1999. He claimed to have been involved in the 1999 Oklahoma disappearances of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman in Oklahoma, and he confessed to murdering Stefanie Stroh in Nevada in 1987. None of the young women have been found and their cases remain unsolved. Investigators are not certain if Sells is telling the truth about his alleged role in their disappearances. Authorities have not interviewed Sells regarding Bardin and it is not known if he was involved in her case. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of foul play in Bardin's disappearance, which remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Vidor Police Department
    409-769-4561

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    Source Information
    Texas Department Of Public Safety
    American Carnival Ride Directory
    The Beaumont Enterprise
    Truth in Justice
    NamUs

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated November 20, 2010; alternate height and weight added, distinguishing characteristics updated.

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